ANSWER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING PROMPTS.
In your answer, demonstrate that you have paid attention to and reflected upon the material in the readings. (attached below as PDF)
note: you don’t need to use all of the attached sources, only what is necessary. please only use the primary sources attached. no secondary/outside sources allowed.
Constitutional War Powers and the Question of Time. Throughout American history, the political system as grappled with the possibility that urgent, quick action might be necessary to safeguard U.S. territory and lives. Such arguments usually conclude that presidents must be equipped, legally and technologically, to act “with dispatch” because Congress, as a collective body, is less able to do so. And yet, Congress has been able to act quickly in emergencies. And it is easy for a set of events to be characterized as an emergency when in fact there is no imminent threat to Americans or to our essential national security interests.
A. How should the system work to ensure timely legitimate responses to threats? Using evidence from the readings from the founding period, make an argument about how the Constitutional system as initially designed and intended was supposed to handle the questions above. Critique the founding setup, and make an argument about whether the initial system is ideal, or if not, how the system should, in your opinion, address the question of timeliness.
B. How has the system worked to ensure timely legitimate responses to threats? Go over the cases that we studied in class. Find at least one case that exemplifies the way you think the system should work, and at least one case that exemplifies the way you think the system should not work. Why did the constitutional processes work well or poorly in these cases? What does that tell us about how the constitutional system deals with real world foreign policy challenges?
C. How can we make it work better? What are the barriers to the constitutional system operating the way you think it should? What political, social, rhetorical, or policy solutions might help produce more processes that look like the one you prefer, while discouraging processes that look like the ones you do not prefer.
Checks and balances in war powers will never be resolved solely by the courts. They will be adjudicated in part based on the political interactions between the president, the Congress, and the public. How can a partisan political system, and a largely ignorant American public, make this system work in a responsible way?
A. Using specific examples from the readings, describe what you see are any strengths, and what you see as any deficiencies, in the way partisanship affects constitutional reasoning and American political development in the authority to use military force at home and abroad.
B. Assuming that political parties are inevitable in elective democracies, do you think that the design of our constitutional system adequately balances, constrains, and legitimizes the use of force? Are there any constitutional changes that might better take political partisanship into account when legitimizing the use of force?
C. Assuming no actual changes to the constitutional system are made, make a normative argument about how we, as Americans, and as partisans, should act so that we can responsibly authorize the use of force under the Constitution now and in future generations.
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